Joleen Stork
Joleen Stork

December 20, 2016

Joleen Stork, Mrs. Stork, as her seventh-grade students called her, began teaching in the Carroll Community School District in 1987.

Stork dedicated the majority of her professional life to teaching and guiding students down a positive life path. What most don’t know about Stork: She opened the doors for New Hope to introduce itself to every Carroll Middle School seventh-grade student since 1989.

Lisa (Thobe) Stork, former student of Joleen’s and Carroll High graduate, recalls Mrs. Stork reading the book “Petey,” written by Ben Miaelsen, to her and her fellow classmates. The book illustrates to children an understanding of people with disabilities, and helps them to discover what people living with disabilities go through.

Lisa recalls her seventh-grade teacher reading the story to her and her classmates: “Mrs. Stork would read the book with such excitement and emotion, you could really tell she had a passion for individuals with disabilities, as well as reading.”

After Stork read the story to her students, she would take them on a tour of New Hope. Lisa recalls touring New Hope and what a huge impact it had on her.

“The tour opened my eyes and made me realize the clients at New Hope have a lot to offer,” she said.

Lisa later became employed with New Hope, working on the weekends in a New Hope campus home.

“I loved working at New Hope. Even if there wasn’t a big event going on, I felt like I was making a difference in the clients’ lives just by being there and being their friend,” she said.

Today, Mrs. Stork’s New Hope tour continues.

Each year, roughly 125 students walk the halls of New Hope and are introduced to the clients served, the variety of client programs, and the everyday life of an individual living at New Hope.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Stork is no longer with us as she passed away in late April 2016.

But because of Joleen and her dedication to her students as well as New Hope, thousands of students are aware that all children/adults are not the same and a person living with a disability is just that — a person.